Fire Alarm

December 7, 2018
TOWN IN RUINS Smoke from the deadly Camp Fire blankets the remains of Paradise, California, on November 15.
JOSH EDELSON—AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Massive wildfires swept through parts of California in November. They destroyed tens of thousands of homes and left many people dead or missing.

On November 8, fire broke out in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, in Northern California. The Camp Fire burned through 240 square miles. Nearly 14,000 homes were destroyed. The town of Paradise was reduced to ash. People fleeing by car on the main road saw other cars in flames.

On November 25, the state’s fire agency said that firefighters had fully contained the blaze. Three days of rain helped to finally put it out. But at least 88 people died. More than 200 are still unaccounted for. The Camp Fire is the deadliest wildfire in California history.

A separate blaze tore through communities west of Los Angeles, in Southern California. The Woolsey Fire claimed 1,600 homes. A quarter of a million people evacuated. At least three people died.

California wildfires have become more frequent over the past 20 years. They have also become more deadly. Scientists say climate change is partly to blame. The U.S. National Climate Assessment came out on November 23. It found that severe hot weather and wildfires would become more common if immediate action is not taken to slow climate change.